Powerstop "Trackday" Brake Testing
Monday, February 22, 2016 11:38:44 PM America/Los_Angeles
As any trackday or competitive SCCA and NASA racer knows, proper selection of brakes can make or "brake" a weekend (pun not intended at first ,but hey it works!). Throughout the year, Christian and I have been battling a braking issue in our C5 Corvettes. Our overall goal with these cars is to go as fast as possible while trying to maintain the factory parts until we exceed their limits. At that point, we either upgrade or design a new solution to address. With braking, we were both still using the factory dual piston PBR calipers and factory style rotors with Cobalt Pads in the front. With tracks such as Autoclub Roval and WSIR with heavy 130mph to 30mph braking zones, we were cracking rotors every 2-3 sessions even with an 8 minute cool down before parking. We needed to find a solution. We contacted Kris Miller at Powerstop brakes to learn more about their newest pad formulation, the "Trackday Pad." Kris explained to us that the pads are specifically formulated and tailored to each platform with the weekend track warrior in mind. The Corvette formulation had not been released to the public yet, but we were happy to get them on our Vettes that we were having repeated braking problems with to give them a shot and provide feedback to Powerstop. We decided to run a controlled experiment by installing 1 set of pads on my FRC, while leaving the same pads on Christians Z06 for a weekend at Autoclub Roval. We received the pads and I must say, the packaging is excellent. Exactly what we expect in a high end pad. Installation was standard with no issues. The new pads even came with new slider brackets and hold downs. Nice. Track Performance: At the track, our C5's run identical times with Christians car having about 60 more wheel power than mine while mine has about twice the tire (hoosier 315/335) so this is a great test between our new Powerstop "Trackday" pads and Cobalts. First impressions on the track? These don't take a lot of temperature to start working. I did the initial 6/10's first lap to get everything warmed up and ready for the first braking zone off the roval. They felt responsive and had bite right off the pits on the warm up lap. First stab on the brakes coming off turn 2 from 135MPH to 30MPH felt great! Initial bite was smooth and not over torqued. I was prepared to put these pads thru the ringer and the first hard braking was nice with no ABS interruption. I was able to control and modulate very easily. Very confidence inspiring. I continued the rest of the 20 minute session leaning hard on the brakes as I usually do and felt NO FADING thru the 20 minute session. Again, stock brakes with Trackday formulation pads and Motul 600 fluid on Hoosiers. First session, no cracked rotors. Good sign! We went thru the ladder part of the day trading lap times back and forth in the C5's and the Powerstops performed flawlessly. We had 3 sessions in and thats when it happened. Ping! That infamous sound of a cracking rotor on Christians Non Powerstop equipped Vette was heard. Cracked rotor confirmed. Great news as my C5 with the Powerstop Trackday pads had no rotor issues. We even inspected the rotors after each session and the Powerstop padded rotors showed minimal heat fractures compared to what are used to seeing. I ran the remainder of the day without cracking a rotor. Since that day, I've put 2 more hard trackdays on them and still have yet to crack a rotor. Before the pads, we were going about 2-4 sessions before changing rotors. Great results from a properly formulated pad thats easy on rotors yet still performs fade free. Street Performance: As mentioned before, these pads don't need a lot of heat to grip. Ive driven on some pads that have been downright scary on the initial street drive with me putting my foot thru the firewall trying to stop in traffic on a chilly morning. The Powerstop Trackday pads drive on the street like a normal factory pad with smooth initial bite, good modulation, and well behaved street manners. Dusting is surprisingly low for a track pad with this type of performance. How about noise level? Very low compared to other Trackday type pads. You will hear an occasional squeal once they get dusty but for the most part, they are quiet and any squealing is light in nature and not the ear piercing squeal some other "plus" pads have. Overall, we highly recommend the Powerstop Trackday Pad formulation for the dual purpose car that needs to live on the street monday thru friday and rip on the tracks on the weekends. The street manners are excellent for this level pad performance that you get. We ran a well controlled test with side by side comparisons to our old set up and maintained braking performance while not eating up rotors or giving up street manners. Truly impressive!
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